Background: Physician-manned emergency medical teams supplement other emergency medical services in some countries. These teams are often selectively deployed to patients who are considered likely to require critical care treatment in the pre-hospital phase. The evidence base for guidelines for pre-hospital triage and immediate medical care is often poor. We used a recognised consensus methodology to define key priority areas for research within the subfield of physician-provided pre-hospital critical care.
Methods: A European expert panel participated in a consensus process based upon a four-stage modified nominal group technique that included a consensus meeting.
Results: The expert panel concluded that the five most important areas for further research in the field of physician-based pre-hospital critical care were the following: Appropriate staffing and training in pre-hospital critical care and the effect on outcomes, advanced airway management in pre-hospital care, definition of time windows for key critical interventions which are indicated in the pre-hospital phase of care, the role of pre-hospital ultrasound and dispatch criteria for pre-hospital critical care services.
Conclusion: A modified nominal group technique was successfully used by a European expert group to reach consensus on the most important research priorities in physician-provided pre-hospital critical care.